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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 30, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The California Republican Party violated state campaign finance rules by failing to properly disclose its contributions last year to a campaign against newly drawn state Senate districts, the state's ethics agency has concluded. In all, the state GOP provided $1.9 million in contributions, in-kind services and loans to the group Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR), which qualified a ballot measure to overturn the new state Senate redistricting maps. After the Supreme Court found the maps were properly drawn, FAIR dropped its opposition to the redistricting plan.
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BUSINESS
August 19, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Resurgent bailout recipients Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been avoiding billions of dollars in potential long-term losses by delaying the use of new accounting measures that would require them to write off more delinquent mortgages, a government watchdog agency said in a letter released Monday. Despite a 2012 determination by their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, that the new accounting rules should be adopted, the agency has allowed Fannie and Freddie to delay implementation until Jan. 1, 2015, according to a letter from Steve A. Linick , the regulator's inspector general.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog and the father of two children killed by a drug-abusing driver have taken the first step toward waging an initiative campaign to raise limits on medical malpractice "pain and suffering" jury awards. The proposed law, which was submitted for title and summary to the attorney general's office Thursday, needs petitions with valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters. Supporters hope to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot.
BUSINESS
July 23, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
So much for the new, "tougher" Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, as the agency is known, is in the process of negotiating a settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co., the huge New York bank that has been accused of serial frauds against California electricity customers and the state's electric distribution system. The reported size of the settlement price could be as high as $500 million, which would be a record penalty in a FERC proceeding. That certainly sounds like a big number.
BUSINESS
July 16, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - The nation's consumer watchdog for credit cards, mortgages and other financial products is set to emerge from a legal cloud that threatened its authority after a Senate deal paved the way for confirmation of its director. After Tuesday's approval of Richard Cordray to a five-year term as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the young agency now has the certainty that it has lacked since being created as the centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street reform law. That means that bureau rules and enforcement actions designed to protect consumers from risky mortgages, misleading credit card marketing, abusive debt collection and other questionable financial practices won't be in danger of being overturned because of legal questions about Cordray's controversial recess appointment in 2012.
NATIONAL
July 2, 2013 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - The official in charge of investigating potential misdeeds at the Department of Homeland Security is under investigation on allegations of nepotism, abusing his position and covering up details about a Secret Service prostitution scandal. Senate investigators are looking into allegations that Deputy Inspector Gen. Charles K. Edwards was "susceptible to political pressure" and that he changed and withheld information for reports on the misconduct of U.S. Secret Service agents who hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, during a visit before a 2012 presidential trip, according to a letter two senators sent to Edwards on June 27. "Numerous" complaints from fellow employees allege that Edwards improperly employed his wife, Madhuri Edwards, as a supervisory auditor in his office, that he arranged for her to telecommute from India for seven months, and that he took "retaliatory action" against people who objected, according to the letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who chairs the oversight subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the subcommittee's top Republican, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
BUSINESS
July 2, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu, This post has been updated. Please see below for details
Food-focused watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest has its hooks in Long John Silver's, accusing the seafood chain of serving the least healthful meal in the country. The advocacy group said it ran laboratory tests on the chain's Big Catch meal, including batter-fried haddock and side dishes such as hush puppies and onion rings. The results showed 33 grams of trans fat, according to the group -- or more than two weeks' worth of the two-grams-a-day allotment recommended by the American Heart Assn.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO -- Ann Ravel, California's top campaign finance watchdog, was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President Obama on Friday. As chairwoman of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission for the last two years, Ravel has been a consistent critic of the federal government's unwillingness to crack down on secret money in politics. She also received nationwide attention for trying to uncover the donors behind an $11-million contribution that was funneled into California campaigns last year by an Arizona-based nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2013 | By Joel Rubin
The city's independent watchdog over the Los Angeles Police Department said Friday that he found no major problems with the department's report on Christopher Dorner and concurred with the report's conclusion that police officials were right to fire Dorner. Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2009 for fabricating a story in which he accused his partner of kicking a handcuffed, mentally-ill man. In February of this year, police say, Dorner went on a killing rampage to avenge what he saw as his wrongful firing.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Gannett Co.'s proposed acquisition of Belo Corp. is the latest in a slew of deals in the television industry. Last week, Media General acquired Young Broadcasting to create a company that will own 30 TV stations in 27 markets. In April, Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired Fisher Communications for $373 million. Gannett's $2.2-billion deal -- $1.5 billion in cash and the assumption of about $700 million in debt -- will give it 43 stations in markets reaching about one-third of the country.
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